Reader Colin has run into something we’ve seen many times before. Best Buy sold him what we call a “Box of Crap,” in this case, an XBox that someone else had swapped out with their modded, broken one. Best Buy’s policy is to refuse a return if the serial number on the Xbox doesn’t match the one on the receipt, so unless you actually open the box and check out the item before you leave the store — get ready for a battle.
We wish Colin had read this post before he stopped at Best Buy, but oh well. Here’s the EECB he sent to Best Buy:
Dear Best Buy Executives,
I would like to start by thanking you for taking the time to read my email and for helping me resolve my situation. I do not take writing you lightly as I am sure you have many other important responsibilities. I have tried to resolve my issue through normal Best Buy customer service channels and have been unable to obtain the resolution that I seek. Being unable to resolve the situation normally, I have no other option than to ask for your help personally.
I purchased an Xbox 360 from the Best Buy store in Chicago on Wednesday, April 28th. Upon returning home and plugging in the unit, I was surprised to find a disc already in the drive. It was horribly scratched. I attempted to play other discs on the unit with no success. Deciding that the unit was faulty, I went to return the unit the next day.
When I entered the store, I went to the customer service desk and left the box with my non-functioning unit at the counter with the Customer Service agent as they told me to go get a new unit off the shelf. When I returned, the CSR was opening the box and said that the unit I was returning did not have a serial number and that they couldn’t exchange it. I asked to speak with the manager and was referred to a man I assume was the manager of the CSR area and he told me the same thing.
I returned to the store this morning and asked to speak with the store manager. I ended up speaking with a gentleman named [redacted]. and told him the whole story. He again repeated the policy that he couldn’t help me because there was no serial number on the unit I was attempting to exchange. I explained to him that I did not remove the serial number and had no idea how it was removed. He had employees review security tapes to see if it had been tampered with while I was away getting the new unit, but he informed me that they saw nothing.
Since he was unable to help me, I returned home and called the 1-888-BestBuy number and was connected with a CSR agent by the name of [redacted], whose Agent ID is [redacted]. He looked up my case as I had called Thursday night as well and then I told him my story. He contacted the GM of the store who related my conversation with [redacted] to him and informed me he could not override their decision. [The CSR] then connected me with [another CSR] who assured me that it was impossible that I found a disc in the unit upon purchase and that he could not help me because of the lack of serial number.
I did some research and found a second serial number under the dashboard of the Xbox 360 unit. The serial # does not match that of the serial recorded at the POS. Also, the tamper-sticker on the unit is torn. It seems that this unit was opened and returned before being sold as new on the shelf. I returned to the store and showed this serial number to [the employee at the store] and he said he would look through the receipts and get back to me but since the serial # did not match that of the unit at POS, he couldn’t help me unless the second serial number appeared in his store receipts. At this point several weeks have gone by and I have had no contact from [the employee]. even though I have left several messages for him.
So that is why I am here writing you. At this point, I have a non-functioning Xbox that I paid $270 for, including the extended warranty. I do not know what happened to the serial number. I did not remove it. I am not trying to do a bait and switch, I am an honest person. I can appreciate the serial number policy in terms of reducing fraud, but I have been burned by buying a product that was obviously used and now I’m out of the purchase price and unable to exchange this item through no fault of my own.
I ask that you please look into my situation and fix this problem. I am only asking that I receive value for the money I have already paid. I would gladly accept a functioning Xbox 360 or a full refund for my purchase.
Again, I thank you for taking the time to read my letter and address the issue I have written about. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or at this e-mail address.
Colin, we hope you didn’t pay cash for the Box of Crap. We’ve found that readers who have had this problem with Best Buy have the best result when they call their credit card company or bank and report it as fraud. You can also file a police report, report Best Buy to your attorney general, or consider filing a small claims lawsuit.
Take photos of the item and document everything. For more detailed advice, check out this post.
For the rest of you, open everything you buy at Best Buy while still inside the store.